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Plant Physiol. 2004 Dec;136(4):3990-8. Epub 2004 Nov 24.

Green fluorescent protein-mTalin causes defects in actin organization and cell expansion in Arabidopsis and inhibits actin depolymerizing factor's actin depolymerizing activity in vitro.

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  • 1The Integrative Cell Biology Laboratory, School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Durham, Durham, DH1 3LE, United Kingdom.


Expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP) linked to an actin binding domain is a commonly used method for live cell imaging of the actin cytoskeleton. One of these chimeric proteins is GFP-mTalin (GFP fused to the actin binding domain of mouse talin). Although it has been demonstrated that GFP-mTalin colocalizes with the actin cytoskeleton, its effect on actin dynamics and cell expansion has not been studied in detail. We created Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants harboring alcohol inducible GFP-mTalin constructs to assess the effect of GFP-mTalin expression in vivo. We focused on the growing root hair as this is a model cell for studying cell expansion and root hair tip growth that requires a highly dynamic and polar actin cytoskeleton. We show that alcohol inducible expression of GFP-mTalin in root hairs causes severe defects in actin organization, resulting in either the termination of growth, cell death, and/or changes in cell shape. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching experiments demonstrate that the interaction of GFP-mTalin and actin filaments is highly dynamic. To assess how GFP-mTalin affects actin dynamics we performed cosedimentation assays of GFP-mTalin with actin on its own or in the presence of the actin modulating protein, actin depolymerizing factor. We show that that GFP-mTalin does not affect actin polymerization but that it does inhibit the actin depolymerizing activity of actin depolymerizing factor. These observations demonstrate that GFP-mTalin can affect cell expansion, actin organization, and the interaction of actin binding proteins with actin.

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